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Of powerplants, Deen reactions, gay marriage and time travel

June 26, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
The late Skip Mixon used to tell me, time and again, that when doing battle with an old person, there was one rule to remember:: “Never mess with an old guy because he has nothing left to lose. He will take you out!”

I now question if I’m becoming the topic of the sentence — old guy with nothing to lose.

The issue that brought Skip hauntingly back was an Associated Press opinion piece I read the other day stating that a new generation is coming into charge and finally there will be differences in things like immigration reform, abortion policies, gay marriage, tolerance for privacy vs. totalitarian security measures.

That was followed by the feeling that I had a kind of disconnect with many friends over my Paula Deen blog entry. I recognize I might have done well to have kept my mouth shut and recognized that my position made it appear as if I have nothing to be ashamed of or upset about in my past.

Indeed, I want a time machine to go back into my past to beat the stuffings out of my younger self, often.

(Young Pablo is walking across the Herald-Star parking lot toward his white 1989 Plymouth Reliant, whistling a tune from Bruce Hornsby when a Delorean suddenly bursts out of the space-time continuum. Older, bald, gray-goateed Pablo grabs Young Pablo by the lapels and says, “Go to a gym before you end up dead, punk.” Young Pablo lights up a Winston and says, “Geez, old man, where did you come from?” Old Pablo says, “Put out that cigarette. And go for a walk, fatso. And for God’s sake, stop writing like some kind of self-righteous know-it-all. And stop being so self-righteous. And look in the mirror, you fat, big-haired, flawed little, no good punk! You have little to be self-righteous about” And so on. And on reading that paragraph, I think it’s back to therapy now! )

So, am I now no longer in the side of the sentence that is receiving the command, the implied “you” in Skip’s statement? Am I now the kind of person he was tallking about, the old guy with nothing to lose?

It explains why I am not shocked, nor compelled to react to the Supreme Court’s just announced gay marriage decision. So long as they aren’t outlawing straight marriage and it’s not directly costing me money, it’s their business. Just note that The Boss at home and I stopped kissing in public years ago. Can y’all do the same?

It would explain the disconnect I feel between my own environmental worldview and Obama’s energy proposals. I really plan on driving smaller cars as I get older and maybe even a hybrid or electric, if they ever become affordable or capable of driving to Pittsburgh and back on a single charge. I no longer need anything big or too fast or too gas-guzzly, just so it’s fun. It’s the least I can do for the environment. But I also want to shout “C’mon!” at folks who say it’s OK to close all the coal-fired powerplants tomorrow while ignoring all the potential hazards that would carry in terms of reliable energy supplies and costs, coupled with the idea that most of those shut-’em-down folks don’t want to drill for oil or gas and don’t want any heavy industry, either.

But you’ll note it’s just a suppressed desire to shout “C’mon!” instead of a desire to start typing in all caps on Facebook and de-friending people. After all, it’s their opinion, too, and they don’t need to apologize. Even if I think they’re going to be sitting in the dark with no air conditioning because either the system will become unreliable or they won’t be able to afford their power bill. And since none of us will be around in 70 years to see if New York really should have spent billions of dollars to protect it from rising sea levels due to global warming, it’s a fight best left to that next generation.

With whom I will often disagree. No need to apologize.


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